Cryptocurrencies staged a sharp recovery on Monday, bouncing back from the steep sell-off late last week, when the “Omicron” variant of COVID-19 emerged, spooking investors and pummelling financial markets. Meanwhile, a mysterious token with the same name as the new variant surged in value.
Bitcoin rose 4.8% in 24 hours to stand at $57,136.17 by 07:52 a.m. ET Monday, having fallen by as much as 8% at one point on Friday, according to CoinGecko. Ether rose 5% in 24 hours to stand at $4,313.26, recovering from Friday’s 11% drop.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa last week. Since then, cases have begun to emerge in a number of countries outside the region and a number of governments including the UK and Israel have scrambled to restrict certain travel. News of the variant on Friday hit risk assets including crypto, as investors rushed for the safety of the likes of gold.
News that the Omicron variant was more transmissible sparked concerns last week. The South African doctor who first spotted the new Covid variant, told the Ocean Media patients who had caught it had “extremely mild symptoms” but more time would need to pass until it is clear how the disease will impact vulnerable people. By Monday, with still little in the way of hard evidence as to how easily transmissible the variant was, investors reassessed the threat omicron may pose to the economy and edged back into cryptocurrencies and stocks.
Other more popular altcoins like Solana’s sol rose by 7.6%, while Cardano’s ada climbed by 3.5%. Metaverse tokens such as Decentraland’s mana rose 5% and The Sandbox’s sand jumped 8% Monday.